Sent July 7, 2006.Richard Zannino,
CEO, Dow Jones and CompanyNancy Abramson
, Executive Director of Radio Networks, Dow Jones and CompanyPaul E. Steiger
, Managing Editor, The Wall Street JournalGlenn Simpson
, Wall Street Journal reporter
Dear Mr. Zannino, Ms. Abramson, Mr. Steiger and Mr. Simpson:"Hang 'em!"
That's what Melanie Morgan of ABC/Disney station KSFO said on June 27th about the news media who wrote stories on the Treasury department program to track terrorist financial data. [ audio link
] The editors Ms. Morgan wanted dead include Journal reporter Glenn Simpson who wrote your June 23rd story.
That comment follows her appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, where Ms. Morgan seriously insisted that Bill Keller and his associates at the New York Times should go to jail for treason for writing about the financial tracking program. [Hardball audio
] In the SF Chronicle
she did qualify her statement somewhat to mention a trial, but also suggested that hanging was too good for them, and hoped to see Bill Keller choke to death in the gas chamber. [ America Prospect link
] Then on her June 30th show she made it very clear she included the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times in her indictment. "All of you people are equally guilty of treasonous behavior." [ audio
I'm writing you because the Wall Street Journal currently has a financial relationship with KSFO and the Lee Rogers/Melanie Morgan program. It appears you pay KSFO to run a daily WSJ segment with Buck Mcquillan (sp). These segments also seem to have other sponsors such as Chevrolet [ audio
includes a co-host insulting sponsor Chevy]. By sponsoring the show you lend your credibility to KSFO and its radio hosts. In return, they call for the hanging death of your reporters for doing their job.
I'd like to suggest that you stop sponsoring the Rogers / Morgan show and completely withdraw your advertising dollars from the station. The reason for this response vs. simply requesting an on-air and written apology from Morgan is that she and Rogers have a history of impugning the journalistic integrity of newspapers
. When the LA Times asked for a correction, not only was their request ignored, Rogers and Morgan later increased the violent tone of their rhetoric. Most recently on June 29th Morgan's co-host called for the AP editors to "commit mass suicide." [ audio
I want to make clear this is not about Ms. Morgan's speech on commercially supported broadcast radio. She might not have exceeded the FCC's rules against incitement of violence, which has gotten other on-air hosts fired (although I believe she has violated that standard), or even the incredibly lax guidelines of her own station.This is about the Wall Street Journal's advertising department and its publisher standing up for the work of its journalists by choosing where to spend its advertising dollars. If you continue to financially support people who hate what you do and want your reporters dead, you are giving implicit approval to those comments.
Although it is tempting to dismiss Ms. Morgan as yet another pundit unschooled in the process and method of journalism, she spent years as a researcher, reporter and anchor for ABC and –when expedient –reminds people of her 30 years as a journalist (even when in the next breath she disassociates herself from journalists and calls for the death of those "in the media"). [ audio
], Therefore presumably Ms. Morgan knows that if the Bush Administration thought the story would truly hurt the nation's security, they would have gone to court to enjoin its publication (if they actually thought they could succeed in court). Yet as pointed out your June 30th editorial, "What Journal editors did know is that they had senior government officials providing news they didn't mind seeing in print. If this was a 'leak,' it was entirely authorized." But those details don't matter to Ms. Morgan who no longer has any need to report information accurately.
You may also think or be told that she was "just joking." However, Ms. Morgan has gone to great lengths to point out how serious she is on this matter, so I believe it calls for a serious response from your organization.
Finally, I--and I'm sure your editors--would like to know your decision and the reasoning behind it if you decide to continue to sponsor Ms. Morgan's radio show. I know there is a clear wall between advertising and editorial, but where you spend your promotion dollars sends a message to your staff and your readers. If you choose her program over the plethora of other choices to reach your potential audience the message I'm getting is, "We support Ms. Morgan's call for the hanging death of Glenn Simpson and our journalists. Furthermore, we will PAY the salary of the person calling for their deaths."
Please support your own news section journalists and sever your relationship with KSFO. Morgan/Rogers and KSFO are simply not worthy of a relationship with an organization with the integrity of the Wall Street Journal.
cc.Dow Jones and Company
, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Dow Jones and Company Nancy Abramson
, Executive Director of Radio Networks, Dow Jones Susan O'Connell,
Director, Affiliate Relations Chuck Fishman
, Producer, The Wall Street Journal This MorningLos Angeles TimesJosh Meyer
and Greg Miller
, Times Staff Writers
Managing Editors: Douglas Frantz
Director, Media RelationsThe American Prospect,
Greg SargentGMMichael A. Jackson --
GM North America Vice President, Marketing and AdvertisingMegan Stooke
-- Director, Advertising & Sales Promotion ChevroletABC RadioJohn Hare
, PresidentJohn Rosso
, SVP Affiliate Relations and Business AdministrationSheri Yee
Duncan BlackFirst DraftEditor and PublisherGreg Mitchell,
, Senior Editor (Syndicates)